A DOG at the centre of an outrage over the necessity of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) has been granted the right to travel from Portugal to the UK, bypassing the six month waiting period.
The news comes as a significant breakthrough for renowned animal charity, the Lagos Animal Protection Society (LAPS), which has been campaigning to raise awareness about the ineffectiveness of the six month waiting period a pet must face before entering the United Kingdom.
Due to the tireless efforts of director and founder, Bridget Hicks, a dog in her care has been allowed to bypass the six month waiting period and granted access to travel to the UK to be returned to her terminally ill owner.
At the same time as Bridget decided to take on the task of getting the dog back into the UK, numerous reports surfaced in the British press from the BBC, The Daily Mail and The Times suggesting that Britain’s rabies restrictions could be relaxed.
Bridget seized this opportunity to contact the people at the centre of these reports, including the government’s top veterinary officer, Doctor Debby Reynolds from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Failing to reach Dr. Reynolds, her call was returned by a DEFRA representative who listened to Bridget’s argument and made arrangements for the dog to be returned to its owner.
This is a remarkable feat considering that since the PETS scheme was introduced in 2000, there have been “only two or three cases” where the pet has bypassed the six month waiting period, “all for health reasons”, according to DEFRA sources. “After years of trying to bring quarantine to a halt, we are delighted with the news that, in this case, quarantine has been rescinded,” said Bridget.
Bridget is a firm believer that the six month waiting period should be eradicated completely based upon the presence of the titre test. Under the current system, pet owners must vaccinate their animals and confirm the effectiveness of the vaccinations with a blood test, six months before departure. The LAPS argument is that, with the presence of the titre test, the six month wait is pointless.
This test is used to determine whether or not a dog really needs further vaccination at any given time. A blood sample is taken which is tested for the presence of antibodies and the strength of the dog’s immunological response to a viral disease. The test is readily available, inexpensive and takes only 15 minutes.
The LAPS believes that once this test has been carried out, any further form of quarantine is useless. “Even though pet owners abide by all the regulations such as the microchip, anti-rabies jab and the titre test, to then have the animal remain in its country of origin for another six months is not only heartbreaking but totally unnecessary,” said Bridget, who described the situation as “quarantine in reverse”.
The LAPS will continue to campaign to give pets free movement and bring UK law in line with the rest of the EU. “We must continue to emphasise that the titre test proves the animal has the antibodies to rabies and therefore is no threat,” said Bridget.
For more information contact LAPS on 282 687 334.